Title: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Genre: YA, abuse
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is a very haunting book.
I read this a couple of weeks ago, but I can still hear Carey's voice in my head. That might be because whoever read the audiobook did a phenomenal job, but I felt like these were real people and I was getting to know their story.
The book opens with Carey and Jenessa in their little trailer in the woods, their bipolar and drug-addict mother AWOL as usual. They've been alone for a few months now, but Carey is very experienced at taking care of her little sister; after all, her mother is hardly ever around, and is drunk or stoned when she is. When Carey's father finds them in the woods, the two girls' lives turn upside down as they learn to deal with their traumatic past and adjust to their new home.
The characters in this novel were all so realistic. Emily Murdoch is a master at creating real people; not only where the characters very well fleshed-out, their bonds with one another and their growing relationships were beautiful and realistic as well. Carey has grown up way too fast because of her absentee mother, and a lot of what we take for granted is foreign to her. She softens and opens up considerably as the novel progresses, and the way she grows to love her new family was very touching. Jenessa is the sweetest child ever, but she has her own trauma - in order to keep her sister's secret safe, Nessa has decided to stop talking entirely. You're left wondering what exactly happened during the so-called "White star night" and why the repercussions have been so damaging. Delaney is Carey and Jenessa's step-sister, and while she comes off as annoying and rude sometimes, she has a heart and it was nice seeing their sisterly relationship develop. Melissa was an incredibly caring and wonderful step-mother, and the girls' father was very understanding and kind.
This book is very difficult to read in that these girls have been through some truly terrible times, and it's heartbreaking to watch them relive their pasts and deal with the trauma of what happened to them out in the woods. The backwoods dialect was a bit grating at first, especially since I was listening to an audiobook version of the story, but it grew on me eventually.
I highly recommend this book!